The new head of the University of Sunderland's new School of Medicine has been announced.
Professor Scott Wilkes will head up the new school when it opens in September 2019.
A professor of general practice and primary care at the university and part-time GP in North Tyneside, Professor Wilkes will oversee the new school’s teaching, research and engagement with NHS partners - building on Sunderland’s already strong partnerships in health related disciplines.
Professor Wilkes said: “I’m honoured and thrilled to lead the School of Medicine. I have every confidence that the school will build on Sunderland’s existing strengths to deliver the clinical training necessary to support the highest quality of health care.
“I’m also proud to be working alongside an incredibly talented and dedicated group of colleagues, in Sunderland and the wider region and with our partners at Keele University Medical School.
"Our programme will incorporate multi-professional learning and extensive exposure to simulated clinical settings through our own simulation suites in the Living Lab.”
Sunderland is one of only five new medical schools to be announced in the UK - established to address the regional imbalance of medical education places across England and to widen access to ensure the profession reflects the communities it serves.
The university is collaborating with its health partners to address the chronic shortage of doctors in the North East.
Trainee doctors will specialise as they choose, though it’s anticipated a large proportion will graduate into General Practice or Psychiatry, complementing existing medical provision in the region and adding to the diversity of medical schools in the UK.
Deputy vice-chancellor (academic) Professor Michael Young added: “Scott’s impressive achievements over his 30 plus year career made him the ideal candidate to lead our School of Medicine and deliver outstanding teaching and research that will have a real impact on the region’s health and wellbeing.
"As the first in his family to go to university Scott is an excellent advocate for our widening participation approach, which is to attract students with the right skills and talents to become doctors but who had not previously considered studying medicine.”
Ken Bremner, chief executive of City Hospitals Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trusts, said: “I’d like to congratulate Scott on his new role and look forward to working alongside him and the team in the future to develop our next generation of doctors and specialists.
"The medical school is a great boost for the city and the region and we are delighted to see the work that we have undertaken with the university finally come to fruition.
"City Hospitals Sunderland and South Tyneside are renowned for our high standard of junior doctor training and we very much look forward to welcoming students from the new medical school in the years to come.”